Gwyneth Baker accessing Castlecomer Library in Kilkenny. She and many others are using the My Open Library initiative
Just supposing you needed an hour on your own on Christmas Day or on any random Sunday morning or Monday evening.
Once you’re signed up, you can go to Castlecomer Library, surf the net, read your favourite book, listen to an audio book, investigate the local studies section, leaf through a National Geographic or read a romantic novella anytime during the 98 hours it is open.
Castlecomer Library has always enjoyed huge popularity because of its staff and facilities but that has been brought to a whole new level by the My Open Library initiative.
Even though, the service is going on for a week, dozens of people have already signed up for the special kind of membership required.
Mary Morrissey, an enthusiastic supporter of My Open Library, said that it was hard work going through all the criteria to be able to provide the service to local people but, ultimately, well worth it.
She points over to a table on the right as you come in the door to three Leaving Cert students studying hard just after 9am.
They love the place and find it very conducive to study.
Mary said that coming in between 8 and 10am in the morning before opening and after closing between 5 and 10pm suits people who are working or otherwise engaged with family business.
Executive librarian with the Kilkenny County Library Service, Dorothy O’Reilly explained that while the library is manned 37 and a half hours a week, thanks to the new initiative, the library is now open for 98 hours.
“The library opens now from 8am to 10pm while staffed hours will continue as normal but you have to be over 16 years of age to use the service,” Dorothy said.
Security is a huge part of the scheme and the library is monitored 24 hours a day by CCTV and there is also an audio recording policy.
If you feel unsafe in the library before or after hours, or someone follows you in after you produce your card and enter your pin outside, you can use the intercom to contact security or use the MOL phone which is a direct line to the emergency services.
When closing time comes at 10pm, audio instructions are broadcast and the alarm will set automatically at 10pm.
Failure to comply with the procedures may result in withdrawal of My Open Library privileges.
Also, all personal belongings of staff are removed from the public area after office hours.
And those worried about staffing levels needn’t because it does not affect jobs after an agreement was ironed out with local authority workers’ unions.
The big Chapel
Book enthusiasts, the book club at the library will discuss The Big Chapel by Thomas Kinsella,based on true events in Callan on June 25 at 2.30pm